Scotland Country Study 2018-03-08T01:46:16+00:00

Welcome to Our Scotland Country Study!

The Books:

The seven books featured are the main books necessary for the Scotland Country Study. Many projects will be based on stories from, “An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales.” We read, “The Water Horse,” as a read aloud for the first week of our Scotland Study, and my daughter read the “Little House in the Highlands” books to herself all month.

Just in case the Amazon book links didn’t load on your computer, here is a written book list:

An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales – Breslin
The Water Horse – King-Smith
Tam Lin – Cooper

The Seal Prince – MacGill-Callahan
The Selkie Girl – Cooper
Little House in the Highlands – Wiley
The Far Side of the Loch – Wiley

Introduction to Scotland:

To introduce your children to the breathtaking scenery of Scotland, watch the first video with them.

The mountains of Scotland are referred to as the Highlands. Famous for their rugged and wild beauty, the highlands are a special region of Scottish geography. To witness the beauty of the highlands with your children, share the second video with them.

Mapping Scotland:

Mapmaking is such an exciting project for children. Not only is your child learning the geography of Scotland in a much more memorable way than fill in the blank maps, but she is learning a historic art form. I find that my children truly learn and retain their geography when they create their own maps, as they are having a visual, kinesthetic, and artistic experience while learning the geography of the region. Here is how we approached mapping Scotland.

Day 1:
1. Look at a map of The United Kingdom. If you completed our Ireland block study, then ask your child to find Ireland on the map. Then bring their attention to the large island east of Ireland. Tell them that the Island is called Great Britain and that we call that island and Northern Ireland The United Kingdom.
2. Have them point to and name all the countries in The United Kingdom. (Scotland, England, Wales, and then remind them that Northern Ireland is a part of The United Kingdom.)
3. Give your child a large (11 x 14) piece of watercolor paper and the cut-out you made previously of The United Kingdom. (Actually just of Great Britain- we will sketch in Northern Ireland)
4. Have your child hold the cut-out and carefully trace around it with a pencil.
5. Then have your child use an india ink black pen to trace the outline. (It is waterproof) Erase the pencil marks.

6. Now notice the borders on the map between the countries. Have your child draw in the borders.
7. To the west, sketch in Northern Ireland and use india ink to make it permanent.8. Label your map “The United Kingdom”
9. Label all the countries as well as Northern Ireland
10. Watercolor each country a different color and watercolor the oceans blue.
Day 2:
Oceans, rivers, and lochs, of Scotland
1. On your atlas, locate the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and The Irish Sea and have your child label them on her map.
2. Explain what a channel is and find St. George’s Channel and the English Channel and label them.
3. Explain what a Strait is, then find the Strait of Dover and label it.
Here is a reference about the Lochs and rivers of Scotland.
4.Use the reference link above and your atlas to label the most popular rivers and lakes in Scotland. Draw in rivers and lochs using a blue colored pencil.
5. Draw a little Loch Ness Monster coming out of Loch Ness to show that this is where the legend originated.
Day 3:
Mountains and Hills
1. Use this link to label the highlands and other mountain ranges of Scotland using upside down V’s as mountain symbols.
2. Draw a tiny kilt on the highlands as a symbol to show that this is the region the kilt came from.
Day 4:
1. Label major cities or towns
2. Make a Map Key
3. Add a compass rose

Scotland Wildlife Map:

Learning about the wildlife of the country you are studying is as equally important to learning about the geography and cultures, as hopefully we are raising a generation that will contribute to the well being of our planet, the protection of species, and the preservation of wildlife. There is no better way to contribute to that goal than to nurture in our children, from a young age, a respect and admiration for nature and wild life.
Materials- a cutout of Scotland (same cutout used for the first map), a large piece of thick paper, (we always use watercolor paper so that these projects last), colored pencils, india ink pen, and either block crayons or watercolors.)

1. Have your child make an outline of Scotland on your page. (You can use the cutout you made for the previous map and just lower it so that Scotland is centered.
2. Outline Scotland in a dark colored pencil. (We used dark green for Scotland and outlined the rest of the island in brown to show that it isn’t the focus of this map.)
3. Use this link or this link to learn about some of the land mammals of Scotland and the regions of Scotland they can be found. Have your child draw pictures of the animals in the regions they can be found on the map. Label the animals beneath the pictures.
4.Use this link to learn about the birds of Scotland. Have your child pick her favorites and draw pictures of them on her map. Label them.
5. Label the seas and oceans and then use this link to learn about the sea mammals that live around Scotland. Have your child pick her favorites and draw them on her map in the waters. Label them.
6. Use this link to view a picture of Scottish Thistle. This is the flower of Scotland. Have your child title her map, “Wildlife of Scotland,” and draw a Scottish Thistle next to the title.
7. If your child wants to include the reptiles, amphibians and fish of Scotland, use this link.
8. Either watercolor, or gently color the land green with a colored pencil or block crayon, and the ocean blue.

To learn more about the wildlife of Scotland, watch this beautiful full length documentary series with your children.

Flag of Scotland:

Have your children draw a picture of the flag of Scotland and outline it with the waterproof black India Ink pen. Then have them watercolor the flag.
We usually discuss the meanings of the colors and symbols of each flag.
Here is a link to read about the meaning of the flag.

Major Religions and Languages of Scotland:

The main religion of Scotland is Christianity. Most Christians belong to The Church of Scotland, some are Roman Catholic, and a smaller minority are from other denominations of Christianity.

To read about religion in Scotland, click here.

The main language of Scotland is English. The traditional languages of Scotland are Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic. To read about the languages of Scotland, click here.

Traditional Scottish Clothing: The Tartan, Kilt, and Sporran

The tartan, which is the cloth used to make the kilt, is traditionally a wool woven cloth with a pattern referred to as plaid in North America. Different colored tartans were associated with different regions as each region had varying plants to use for natural dyes. In the 19th century, when artificial dyes became available, specific colors and patterns became associated with specific clans rather than regions.
Read about the Tartan:

Make your own tartan cloth:

Here is a fun project to introduce your child in a simple way to how tartans were woven.
Materials- a few sheets of felt, scissors, felt glue.
1. Fold a piece of felt in half and cut straight lines that stop about 1 1/2 inches from the edge. Open and lay flat on the table. 
2. Using different colors, cut many thin and thick strips of felt to weave into the cut slits on the original piece of felt. You can even layer the thick and thin strips to make it look more authentic.
3. Begin weaving, going over and under alternately. Use alternate colors to make your tartan more interesting.
4. Glue the ends of the strips so that they don’t slip out.

Make a Sporran:

The traditional kilt bag is called a sporran. Kids will love to sew their own sporran to wear with their kilt or to wear daily and put little treasures in.
Materials- a sheet of felt, a button, thick thread, a thin rope, needle
Here is a link for the pattern and directions:

Make your own traditional Scottish Kilt Project:

Materials: a yard of cheep plaid flannel ($5), either fabric glue or stapler for pleats, safety pins
This is such a fun activity. We found plaid flannel on sale at our local fabric store for $5 a yard. To make this Traditional Scottish Kilt simply cut a yard of fabric so that it will reach your child’s knees in length. It should be a yard in width. Then to demonstrate how the kilt is pleated (but without requiring yards and yards of fabric) show your child how to make a few pleats in the back of the kilt. You can either staple or glue the pleats.

Then wrap the fabric around their waste and use a safety pin to pin it (in the front left side) closed. Then, use the left over fabric that was cut from the hem and drape it over your child’s shoulder. This piece is called the plaid. Finally, take the sporran and wrap it around your child’s waste, tying it in the back. Enjoy!
Conversation Note:  The kilt originated in the highlands of Scotland due to the simple fact that the people needed a style of dress that made it easy for them move about comfortably in the mountains. 

The Wee Little Bannock: Story and Baking Project

I love basing projects and activities on stories. I feel that story based projects make the story become a part of the child as it allows the child to experience the story and take part in it.
To begin this activity, read the Scottish folktale, The Wee Little Bannock, from the book, An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales  shown above. (First of the pictures of books at the top of this page) Explain to your children that Scottish bannocks are a very traditional food in Scotland and are a kind of flat bread and oat cake in one. Bannocks are Scottish scones and many say that the scone is originally from Scotland, rather than England. 
After reading The Wee Little Bannock, make bannocks and tea with your children.
Bannocks are made many different ways all throughout Scotland, but a few things are always the same. Oats are used, and the bannock is a round circle with an x imprint on it that will end up being where the cook slices it into triangle shapes- like scones. Here are a few recipes for Scottish bannocks. 
(Note- we made them gluten free and they were delicious. We just replaced the flour in one recipe with gluten free flour. Other recipes don’t add a second flour and only use the oats)
Bannocks Recipe 1:

Bannocks Recipe 2:

The Water Horse: Loch Ness Monster Story and Activities

Materials: The Water Horse Book & sculpey clay in various colors, oven
Every day, either during your family story time or during bedtime story time, read The Water Horse until you are finished. I must mention that my children and I are in love with this book. It was so delightful and it truly bonded us to this legend.
When you finish, choose a Loch Ness Craft from below and enjoy!
Sculpey Loch Ness Sculpture:
Here are links to other Loch Ness Monster craft ideas:

Loch Ness Trace and Watercolor:
For this project my children chose to draw a loch ness monster, but children can also trace over the lines of the printable and then turn it over onto a sheet of watercolor paper and rub the image onto their paper and then trace it with a waterproof marker (Sharpie). Then soak a piece of paper towel and rub it all over the paper to make it wet. Then begin to paint. This is called wet on wet watercoloring and makes a beautiful watery effect.
Sew a Loch Ness Monster Stuffy:

Cooking a Traditional Scottish Meal:

My children’s favorite country study day is definitely cooking day! Cooking traditional meals from the region you are studying is a great way to get more acquainted with the culture. The kids do most of the cooking themselves while I simply read the recipe, overseeing and offering direction. We usually enjoy making a night of it, with the table set nicely and festively, and traditional folk music from the country we are studying playing while we eat. 
Seeing that haggis is the most traditional food in Scotland, and we didn’t have a spare stomach to stuff nor did we have innards and organs to prepare, we went with a different popular and traditional recipe, Scottish Meat Pie! The Scottish meat pie is made on Hogmanay day, which is a celebration at midnight of the last day of the year. It is a New Year’s celebratory meal. We used a bit of left over flannel from our kilt making day for the table runner and put our Loch Ness Monster sculptures on it as a centerpiece. We were listening to Malinky, the traditional Scottish band linked below, the entire time we were cooking as well as eating. The food was delicious, and the atmosphere was wonderful!
Scottish Meat Pie:
or this recipe:
They are almost exactly the same but either recipe will work.

Neeps and Tatties:
Neeps and tatties are basically mashed potatoes and turnips and they are delicious. There are many variations in how you can make them, but we chose the basic route. We just peeled and boiled potatoes and turnips and mashed them with butter and salt.
Here is a more involved recipe that looks delicious:
And for desert….

Scottish Shortbread

Creatures from Scottish Folklore: Bookmaking Project

We love making our own books about the many things we learn about. Not only is it an enjoyable way for a child to make his learning his own, but it is also a wonderful tool for review over the years. You will find that your child will pick up his book repeatedly to read it and look through it, thereby reviewing what he has learned.
Scotland has such a rich world of folklore, replete with creatures and stories that can excite the most active imagination. This activity will result in a treasured keepsake of your child’s time discovering the folklore of Scotland. One that she will most likely pick up and read often.

Day 1: The Loch Ness Monster
By now your child is familiar with the Legend of the Loch Ness Monster. The first page of the book will be about the Loch Ness Monster. Take a piece of paper (we use watercolor paper to insure it will last) and cut it into the shape and size you want your book to be. Then leave at least a one inch margin for sewing.
Make a cover page entitled, “Creatures from Scottish Folklore.”
Then take another piece of paper and title it ,”Loch Ness Monster.” Have your child draw a picture of the Loch Ness Monster and write a short narration describing what they know about the creature. (I pencil in lines to write on.)
Day 2: Selkies
Read The Selkie Girl, (listed at the top of this page) as well as “The Selkie of Sanday”, (from the collection listed at the top of the page entitled, An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales. (Any Scottish folk story about the Selkies will work)
When you have read both stories, have your child draw a picture of a Selkie and write a short narration describing what a Selkie is.(On the same size paper as the first with a 1 inch margin.) This will be the second page of the book.
Day 3: Brownies
Read the story, “The Brownie of Ballharn Hill,” from the same collection of stories, An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales. Have your child make a page for her book about brownies, incorporating a drawing and a written narration describing what a brownie is.
Day 4: Kelpies
Read the story, “The Water Kelpie,” from the same collection of stories, An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales. Have your child make a page for her book about water kelpies in the same fashion as the other pages.
Day 5: The Dragon Stoorworm
Read the story, ” The Dragon Stoorworm and the Boy called Assipattle,” from the same collection of stories, An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales, and have your child create a page about the Dragon Stoorworm for his book.
Day 6: 
Sew your book together!

The National Animal of Scotland: The Unicorn

As if the folklore and beauty of Scotland wasn’t magical enough, the official National Animal of Scotland is the Unicorn! Many Scots believe that the Unicorn was a real animal that is now extinct. Unicorns are said to represent youth, innocence, beauty and joy. To celebrate this magical (or extinct) creature have your children make their own Unicorn horn to wear.
Materials are shown below:
a paper towel roll with a piece of paper rolled into a cone and glued on top, paint in the colors your children want their horns to be, ribbon, sparkles and jewels, glue, and elastic to tie around their head.

1. After making the horn using a paper towel roll and a piece of paper rolled into a cone and glued on top, have your child select a paint color and paint her horn.
2. When the pain it dry, begin to glue on jewels or sparkles.
3. Glue the ribbon around the seam of the cone top.
4. Cut a small slit on each side of the horn at the base and slide the elastic through. Fit it around your childs head and tie a knot at the back.
5. Run around and pretend to be Unicorns.

Scottish Music and Dance:

Scottish Music and Dance: 
The music of Scotland is replete with pipes, drums, violins, and the beautiful voices of the Scottish people. I must note that one thing we do, that makes our country studies so real and alive, is  listen to the music of the region we are studying. While we study Scotland, we listen to the music every day, while we are eating breakfast, making dinner, drawing, and going about our day. Having our home filled with the beautiful sounds of Scotland all month, mingled with the smells of Scottish meals, truly makes the culture come alive for us.

Traditional Scottish Piping and Drums- The Flower of Scotland

Scots Gaelic Song

Scottish Gaelic Singer

Current Scottish Traditional Band:
Malinky (LOVE this band!)

Alison Cross

Broomfield Hill

Scottish Folk Dance

Scottish Highlands Dance

Male Scottish Highlands Sword Dance

Parents’ Corner:

Historical Dramas:
Rob Roy
The Outlander Series

Historic Fiction:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Discover Scotland